The text below is LCCG’s response to the plans to improve the area in front of the station on London Road and to build new cycle paths from the station out to the roundabout with Mayfield Road (corner of Victoria Park). If you’ve not seen the plans yet, you can download them here:
We would be very grateful if you would send the Council your views on the plans. You will need to send an email to: transport-strategyenquiries@ leicester.gov.uk (there is no online consultation form this time).
Please feel free to use all or part of our response when writing your own. The Council count numbers of responses for/against/other so even if you only send an email saying “I support the viewpoints submitted by Leicester Cycling Campaign Group” that will be very helpful to our cause.
The deadline for responses extended to FRIDAY 10th NOVEMBER.
Official response from Leicester Cycling Campaign Group to London Road proposal
LCCG are impressed by the plans offered for the London Road redevelopment and believe that this design is by far the best that has been drafted to date. Particular points that we are in support of are inclusion of cycle lanes on both sides of the road, cycle gates at major junctions, and priority given to cyclists at minor junctions.
However, we have highlighted a number of issues with the plans that, if not addressed, will limit the success of the scheme for all users. Four major points are outlined below followed by more detailed issues.
- Separation of different modes of traffic
We are strongly in favour of separating cycles from both pedestrians and motor traffic. Currently, the plans and artistic impressions show a worrying lack of adequate separation between bicycles and motor traffic. For London Road, the optimal solution, as advocated by Brian Deegan, is kerbed separation with cycles at carriageway level. This has a number of advantages over other options including:
- Safe, protected space for cycles away from cars, trucks, and buses, as well as the feeling of protection
- Prevents parking on cycle tracks (a major problem on Newark St and Welford Rd)
- Better for pedestrians, especially those with disabilities, as there is clear segregation
- Problems associated with cycles going up and down kerbs at junctions are removed.
The design as presented represents our third choice of segregation, and we do not think it will work. Please note that we do not want to see the cycle lanes built, and then protection from parking added. This has not worked on Newarke St. and needs to be addressed from the start with upright segregation, ideally in the form of kerbed separation as is common in London. A detail of the kerbed segregation is drainage and avoiding grates in the cycle lanes. Given conversations at consultation events, we feel it important to point out that there is no evidence that kerbed separation is a trip hazard, especially on an arterial route like London Rd.
- Implementation of cycle stop gates
The cycle stop gates proposed at the major junctions are an innovative solution that we applaud. We are fully in support but want to make sure that care is taken when implementing these so that they are effective. This means careful consideration of timings at junctions and ensuring that there is visible continuation of the cycle track (e.g. with coloured asphalt) through the junction. We have a concern about the timing for left turns onto University Road and the possible conflict of cyclists arriving at a green light allowing them to proceed downhill while the light is also green for cars to turn left.
- Priority at minor junctions
Providing cycles (and pedestrians?) with priority at minor junctions is a vast improvement of these plans, relative to other recent developments (e.g. Welford Road and the A50). To ensure that this priority functions well, it is vital that engineering measures are taken to alter the behaviour of motor vehicles, for example, raising the table and tightening the corners to force drivers to slow down and consider crossing traffic. This is especially important at certain junctions (e.g. Conduit Street).
- Connecting to existing infrastructure
It is essential that cyclists are able to easily access the new cycle tracks and that it makes sense to use them. The trickiest parts of the route are at either end – by the Mayfield Road roundabout at the top and in front of the Station at the bottom. These sections need to be carefully thought through as they could easily end as too inconvenient to use, e.g. for those continuing south beyond Mayfield roundabout. An addition that would support cycling in the area would be a connection from Granville Street / De Montfort Hall area to the proposed cycle way along Victoria Park.
- Front of station: We see advantages and disadvantages to bus stops in front of the station and to drop off/pick up space in front of the station. We think that the clear, designated cycle path in front of station is important, very much better than unmarked shared space. Maybe include railings to prevent pedestrians walking willy-nilly across the cycle track where they don’t expect faster vehicles. While we appreciate the idea that drop-off/pick up space in front of the station may mean that only professional drivers actually drive out of the station and across the footway and cycleway, would the drop-off space in Option 2 be enough to allow this?
- Provision of adequate cycle parking by shops along London Rd will reduce likelihood of bikes attached to random poles and railings.
- The chicanes around bus stops are very tight as displayed on the plans. We are concerned this will lead to conflict with pedestrians and lack of visibility around the bus stops.
- We are concerned that parking bays appear to intrude onto the cycle lane, but recognise this could be an appearance rather than actuality.
- We are concerned about the kerb at Granville Street, both continuing toward the station from the south, and turning from Granville St onto the cycle way. As above, we believe the best solution would be a kerbed separation that leaves the cycle track at carriageway level.
Overall, as stated at the beginning, these are very good plans. We hope that careful consideration is given to the points raised in this response as there are still a number of important engineering decisions that will significantly affect the effectiveness of this scheme. We believe that the issues we raise will not just be of benefit to cyclists but, in fact, will make the scheme more successful for all users.